Episode Thirty Eight - Lawless Streets
“How are you feeling?” Juniper swings down to the balcony below.
The sky is dark but Zylo boldly releases the railing and drops after her, managing to catch on to the next. “It was good. I think.” He leaps for the rain pipe and slides down. “I think we both needed that.”
With a light tap, Juniper’s feet land softly on the ground. “Yeah? You seemed so sure. You just let her go.”
“I am sure. I think I have been for a while now.” Zylo drops down beside her and immediately pulls Juniper close, kissing her soft lips. Their mouths hug affectionately, but for only a second. They slowly pull away, smiling intimately close to one another.
“You’re just kissing everyone tonight, aren’t you?” Juniper pouts, sounding most jealous.
Zylo smiles and nudges his nose softly against her cheek. Her jealousy is a clear display of her affection, and of course, very appreciated.
“Guys, cops are coming.” Migs peeks over the hedges looking toward the flashing police lights.
The four hunters start to move, but a set of shuffling feet emerge behind them. The group starts sprinting.
“FREEZE!” shouts a policewoman, but the hunters are already escaping.
“Split up, regroup later!” Juniper and Zylo sprint side by side in one direction while the two Brawlers jet toward the other.
Juniper leaps over benches and cars, and Zylo follows just a second behind.
Despite their speed, the sirens wail in every direction around them, inching closer and closer with each passing moment. There are no alleys and fire escapes and the couple finds themselves slowly being surrounded in this overly organized and uncluttered neighborhood.
Fancy stores with no names or signs linger on every street. Modern simplicity is prevalent within the architecture of the neighborhood, and detrimental to the two hunters.
Quickly turning the corner, the Pirates find two more police officers with pistols raised. “Stop or we will sh—”
Juniper pushes in between them and Zylo forces them aside, one hitting the ground and the other slamming against the wall of the building.
Before getting even halfway down the block, a patrol car races through the street and stops to intercept. The officers step out already reaching for their pistols.
Merciless, Juniper slides over their car hood and slams the door against the policeman, pinning him to the side of the car. Zylo punches out the other and they continue down the block.
“They’re swarming this area.” Zylo consistently glances behind him, cautiously looking out for more flashing lights and pursuing authority figures.
“All the police must be on high alert or somethin’.” Juniper casually glides through the few panic-stricken pedestrians, and Zylo follows in a less graceful manner with his shoulder forcefully slamming against them.
About twenty feet ahead, another patrol car pulls up at the intersection. The first policeman draws an electric stun gun, and fires.
The electrodes instantly snap on to Juniper’s collar. The loud excruciating crackle of the shock runs through the wire and almost immediately, drops Juniper from full sprint onto one knee.
She screeches in pain, legs striving to push her weakening body forward. Having just a short distance between them, Juniper lunges with her remaining momentum, eyes determined and voice roaring.
The policeman panics, desperately squeezing down the trigger until her raging uppercut knocks him into the air and over the car.
Zylo leaps up with the flying body and kicks down on the policewoman on the other side. Within seconds, they add to their trail of incapacitated officers.
“Piece of shit…” Juniper rips off the painful electric dart from her jacket and drops it on the ground. She recalls the painful shock and shivers abruptly, then stretches her neck.
“You good?” Zylo asks, wiping the sweat from his forehead.
“Yeah…” Juniper pants to catch her breath, crouching low to rest her worn body.
Suddenly, the loud rotating propellers of a helicopter whizzes overhead, and the Pirates panic. Surprisingly, the illuminating spotlight zooms past them and scans intently along the rooftops chasing another moving target.
“It’s not us…” mutters Zylo.
“Then what is it?” Juniper leads the chase.
They ascend an outdoor stairwell all the way to the roof of an apartment complex. At the top, they spot the helicopter hovering over a violent squabble at the end of the row of buildings.
“No wonder there’s so many dogs in the area,” Juniper realizes, “it’s Lightning Royalty causing a ruckus.”
Standing under the helicopter is Rumble Bee, Flash Dee, and Parker Jay slowly surrounding Birdie, a hunter of the Ricochet Riders. Of course, any enemy of Lightning Royalty is a friend of the New Pirates.
Police officers emerge from the stairway nearby and the Pirates quickly duck into cover. A total of six officers flood onto the rooftop and immediately sprint toward the directed spotlight of the helicopter.
Zylo and Juniper sneak closely behind them, nodding to one another and confirming their understood plan. They rush out.
“FREEZE!” One of the policemen aims his gun at the crowd of hunters.
While connecting his rods, Zylo lands a strong roundhouse kick on the unsuspecting officer, then slams the readied weapon against the back shoulder of the closest policewoman.
At the same time, Juniper swipes the guitar across the sprinting legs of one officer and whacks another beside him. The remaining two officers turn around, only to catch two simultaneous kicks from Juniper and Zylo.
The noisy helicopter shouts through its loudspeaker, “Fortune City Police! Stop what you’re doing immediately! Drop your weapons or we will respond with force!” The propellers beat noisily against the air to stay lifted over the building while the rude light glares down.
Not a single hunter is threatened, and they continue their business with nonchalance.
“Three on one? How ’bout we even the odds?” Juniper fearlessly rushes into the bright spotlight and smacks her guitar against the round bottom of Rumble’s wide, shielding fry pan. He swings out immediately, pushing Juniper toward Birdie.
“I’ve been seeing you all day, Flash. Don’t know about you, but I think I’m smitten.” Zylo rams the lengthened rod against his blocking tennis racket, then pulls back and sweeps the rod under, smacking Flash’s legs.
“Stop what you’re doing!” continues the incessant voice of the helicopter.
Birdie wrestles with Parker, though she is anxious to leave. She dodges his lug wrench and sweep kicks him to the ground, then says to Juniper, “The rest of my crew is fighting down there. I need your help!”
“Fine, let’s go.” Juniper looks to Zylo, “Handle them, honey!” Without further consideration, she and Birdie leap out of the spotlight and over the ledge to the balcony below.
The three Lightning Boys try to intercept but Zylo swings wide, repelling Rumble and Flash, though missing Parker. The single Lightning member jumps over the ledge after Juniper and Birdie.
“Looks like it’s just us then.” Flash swings both tennis rackets but Zylo steps back from the first, and ducks under the second.
“How ’bout we talk this over?” Zylo retreats a distance and props the long rod over his shoulder. “You guys surrender…” he twirls the weapon for momentum, “and I’ll only wreck one of you!”
Zylo dashes forward, jabbing the rod into Flash’s chest before banging against the hard metal of Rumble’s wok.
“If you didn’t have that big ass pan, Rumble, I would’ve broken your face so many times by now.” Zylo cautiously steps away again. “What’d King Kuro give you, anyway? The girl that got away? A diamond ring and a promise?”
Rumble smirks, “You’re a funny guy, Zylo. I like that. Hell, I’m gonna feel bad when King Kuro kills you.” The two Lightning hunters charge forward.
Zylo leaps toward them, spinning in the air and swinging his weapon as fast as a raging tornado. His shield triggers to strengthen the rod, heaving a dense and powerful force toward Lightning Royalty.
A gust of wind rushes over their faces just before the attack crashes against their helpless bodies like a tidal wave. The two are swept across the rooftop and they land in a sprawled mess.
“That’s it,” Zylo proudly mutters to himself, “I’m pro status. I’m a seasoned hunter now.”
“Drop your weapons!” shouts a voice from behind.
Turning around, Zylo spots four policemen with pistols aimed at his head. From the stairwell beside Flash and Rumble emerge six more officers, each ready to fire.
Four is better than six, so Zylo takes his chances.
He dashes across the roof, and as expected, the policemen open fire. The bullets spark around Zylo’s speeding body, each one failing to hit. Even the spotlight struggles to keep up.
A policeman intercepts Zylo’s path, so he throws his weapon like a javelin and strikes him down. With a quick reach, he retrieves the rod bouncing off the officer’s chest and continues past, ignoring the others.
Zylo becomes a shadow speeding through the darkness of the night, vaulting over ventilation ducts and metal railings along the rooftop. His hands climb fast and his legs push even faster.
Passing to the next building, a policewoman emerges from the closest stairway with more reinforcements behind her. Zylo, however, readily kicks her back down the stairs and slams the door shut before she could even draw her pistol. He keeps going and leaps over the gap to the next building.
A gunshot echoes over the rooftops and immediately, Zylo’s shoulder is popped back as he lands. He lets out a loud grunt before blue steam hisses from the corner of his peripherals.
His shoulder’s been shot. It felt like being hit by something painfully blunt in a very concentrated, precise spot.
“So this is what it feels like to get shot...not so bad…” he coughs violently and nearly chokes, the intense pain affecting his nerves and the abrupt adrenaline blurring his vision.
The hard ridges of the foreign metal dig into his flesh, and every bodily motion reminds him of its presence.
Further ahead, more officers pour onto the roof restricting Zylo’s escape. He disconnects his rods, places them safely into his back pocket, and rushes toward the ledge. Without much concern for what lies below, he takes a leap of faith.
More bullets sprinkle down around him as he falls onto the wooden deck of the apartment below. The officers lean over the ledge of the roof to shoot, but Zylo quickly climbs over the wooden bannister to drop down to the next. Another bullet punctures his lower back and he crudely drops to the lower balcony.
“Ah, shit!” His body writhes in pain as he crawls toward the deep end of the wooden deck, out of sight from the persistent gunfire.
There isn’t much time. Zylo frantically pries into his shoulder wound with panicking fingers, and the pain is more excruciating than anything he’s ever felt. His eyes pour with tears but he bites his lip and endures. The tips of his two fingers rummage through the leaking blue substance and into his flesh.
His fingers manage to grip the end of the bullet, but not much more. At the first tug, he feels the expanded metal of the bullet dug in under his flesh, irritating his muscles with the slightest touch.
Holding his breath, he closes his eyes, and pulls. The metal rips out of the torn wound, and he suppresses his urge to scream. He drops the bullet onto the wooden deck and throws his weight lifelessly against the wall exhaling numerous short breaths.
The bullet sits beautifully expanded like a blossoming metal flower. Hollow-point rounds.
“Damn cops…” He heavily pants from near exhaustion, contemplating whether or not he has the strength to deal with the second bullet in his lower back. For a moment, he decides to leave the wound alone, until his logical mind considers the advantages of not having a bullet remain in his body.
His fingers glide over the open wound in his lower back, gently touching the cold end of the bullet and cautious to not upset his flesh.
Zylo closes his tear-flooded eyes, and grips his fingers around the metal. Every painful corner of the bullet reveals itself with the slightest pressure, persistent to inflict more damage to his body.
He tries to pull, but the bullet is stubborn. His breaths grow short subduing the pain, and he continuously gulps in his dry throat with every attempt to dislodge the metal.
Zylo becomes light headed and exhausted, but he wants the bullet out. He pushes aside an obstructing part of his flesh, then gently slides out one side of the expanded metal. A spark of hope ignites within him, and he quickly rips out the rest.
“Finally!” He wipes the sweat and tears from his face, and prepares to stand. “Diu la sing, freakin’ trigger happy cops.”
The police are still after him, and hopefully, they haven’t already swarmed the area. The bullet clinks against the deck and Zylo hops over the wooden bannister. He thumps heavily onto the grass two stories below, a clumsy landing affected by his painful wounds.
“Stop or we’ll shoot!” shout the police officers appearing behind him.
“Oh, I think you’ve done enough of that!” Zylo sprints down the street as fast as his legs can take him. He turns the corner and races to the end of the block, but two patrol cars intercept him from the road. The officers quickly step out drawing their pistols.
With half a second to react, Zylo raises both rods touching end to end toward the four officers, and the guns start firing. The bullets shoot at a rapid tempo from four different angles, but each one is repelled by Zylo’s shield.
The metal rounds tap ineffectively against the invisible force, sustained in the air before dropping to the ground like the obedient little pieces of metal they are.
After a few seconds, the officers stop their gunfire, confused with their failure to hit, and Zylo immediately tumbles beside a parked car for cover.
They circle around, but Zylo readies his weapon and lunges toward the unlucky policewoman. The first rod imprints across her face and the second drives into the stomach of the next.
“This is for that damn bullet!” Zylo’s kick thumps viciously against another officer’s chest, throwing his body several yards and slamming unconscious against the side of a car. The edge of the silver rod continues and bangs against the ear of the last officer. He, too, goes down limp.
Zylo’s guilt is easily judged with the unconscious bodies lying limp at his feet, and the arriving group of officer’s immediately ready to execute. Their guns rise against him like a firing squad, and he can only watch.
A loud bang and Zylo flinches in fear, covering his face as though it would do any good. Another bang, but Zylo is unharmed. He looks up to discover the guns did not fire.
Two metal chains whip across the unsuspecting officers like streams of crackling lightning. Renzo’s aggressive attack knocks several of the peacekeepers off their feet, continuously beating their uniformed bodies even after they’ve fallen.
During his assault, a swift black figure swoops over the clutter of battered officers and attacks in a blur of movements. Her dark umbrella swishes in powerful arcs, smacking the panicking and already demoralized police.
Elza is relentless, but appears restrained. Her movements are slower than usual, and Zylo can tell she is still coping with King Kuro’s stab wound.
She blocks several bullets with the opened umbrella, then retracts and knocks out the last conscious policeman.
“Hey there, good lookin’.”
Zylo turns toward the road to find the gorgeous monstrosity, T-wrecks, parked with Kitsune at the wheel.
“Boy, I’ve never been so glad to see your ugly face.” Zylo happily jumps into the truck bed, more than overjoyed he came out of the conflict unscathed.
Renzo returns and Kitsune gladly scoots over to the passenger seat, allowing his partner the privilege of driving. Judging from Renzo’s performance, his arm injury must be well healed by now.
Elza hops into the truck bed shortly after and slaps the side, “Go.”
The noisy truck coughs a puff of black exhaust before moving. Like a sick dinosaur struggling to stay alive, the disease blows into the street with the toxic smell of pollution.
“Up ahead!” Kitsune points.
Not a moment too soon, Juniper steps out of a second floor window onto a fire escape and leaps down to the street. Smiling at the beautiful sight of their disgustingly vintage truck, Juniper races onto the road behind them and reaches out her hand.
Zylo snatches her wrist and pulls when she jumps, propelling her body clean onto the truck bed.
“Rough night?” She catches her breath while looking at Zylo’s smiling but tired face. “Oh no…” She sees the wound on his shoulder and the hissing blue from his lower back.
“Yeah, I was shot, twice. I’m finally hardcore.” He leans on her shoulder, rubbing his head against her warm, comforting arm.
“It’s okay, you’re safe now,” her hand gently strokes his head.
Elza, sitting on the other side, awkwardly clears her throat.
“Oh, Elza’s here,” Juniper smiles. “Hi, Elza.”
The truck speeds through the city streets ignoring the endless column of traffic lights. The road seems quiet for a moment, until a patrol car emerges at an intersection. Its sirens howl and lights flash, bearing no hesitance to accelerate and ram the back bumper of the truck.
Elza leaps from the truck bed and lands onto the hood of the speeding police car. Feet struggling to keep steady, she grips the handle of her umbrella tight and pierces vertically down through the hood. The sharp unbreakable weapon rips into the engine and grinds against the rotating gears and mechanical parts.
The damage immediately takes effect.
The car swerves and slows down but Elza leaps back to the truck bed before losing stability. In seconds, the police car grinds to a halt in the middle of the road eating the gloating exhaust of the old truck.
“That was…impressive.” Juniper is awestruck.
“There’s going to be more of them,” Elza says pessimistically.
She’s right. Sirens are everywhere, running along the parallel streets and gradually closing in on them.
They reach the next intersection and another patrol car rams the side of their truck, forcing them to swerve and skid at an angle. Renzo anxiously pumps the brakes and the truck slows to a stop in the middle of the intersection. Before he can drive again, another police car emerges ahead and obstructs their path.
The truck is being surrounded.
“We’re in trouble,” Juniper readies her guitar, but Elza hops out first.
“Wait here!” she shouts, and jets toward the police car that previously rammed them. She viciously kicks the opening door and the exiting officer slams against the side of the car.
The policewoman standing on the other side reaches for her pistol, but Elza slides over the hood and pierces the umbrella tip through the window. The glass shatters and the policewoman is struck in the chest.
A barrage of bullets unloads from the other patrol car but hits only the large cover of the spread umbrella. Much to the officers’ surprise, the bullets continuously deflect from her weapon while she steadily paces toward them.
With a sudden quickness, Elza closes the umbrella and lunges over the remaining distance. She smacks the weapon against the policeman’s face, then leaps over the car and thrusts the tip into the other.
“Elza, come on!” Kitsune waves. More lights and sirens converge from the sides, and the truck is ready to leave through the single cleared path.
“Get out of here. I’ll draw them.” Elza steps further away, still readily gripping her weapon.
“Are you kidding? Get in here!” Zylo leans out to shout.
Elza won’t. She races toward the next approaching police car with all her speed and strength, and lunges straight toward the vehicle in a powerful strike.
The umbrella tears through the grill into the engine and the car’s speeding momentum abruptly stops. For a second, the butt of the vehicle lifts several feet before dropping down with a heavy thump.
“Fine. Renzo, drive,” says Kitsune.
“What? No, I’ll go get her.” Juniper grips the side of the bed, but the truck starts moving.
“Jikan ga nai yo. GO!”
Renzo is reluctant, but floors the pedal. The truck steers toward the road most devoid of police lights, and accelerates.
Staring at a distance, Zylo watches the spotlight of the helicopter focus on Elza as swarms of patrol cars and police officers surround the area.
Continuous gunfire echoes through the street but the truck turns a corner, and she is out of sight.